Saratoga Horse Racing

February 2012 Archives

You have to understand that I did not expect my world to be turned upside-down today. I hunkered down to work in my home office, while outside a snowstorm bore down on me. I was quite fine.  Drinking coffee, gathering information on the web, I was utterly loving the silence that a snowstorm forces on a community.  Streets become quiet.  Cars hush themselves.  Even scofflaws come out in the daytime to open their mouths and catch the six-pointed, icy stars on their tongues.

Yes, "scofflaws":  you know, those people whose business is done by the dark of night.  The shadows are their friends.  Like behoodied vampires, the harsh glow of daylight sends them skittering back into their alleyways and abandoned buildings.  As so many cockroaches, they seek the company only of their own, and not all that often. But snow!  Snow, it seems, reminds us all--even the scofflaws--of our childhood.  For just a moment, even the hardest or saddest of us is taken back to a time when our biggest cares involved whether to take the orange or purple ice-pop on a sweltering August afternoon.

So I loved the snow, and the quiet, and the prospect of getting a ton of work done today. Deadlines to meet tomorrow, and the next day, and Monday, and so forth. Today was a day full of promise.   My plan for productivity and peace was in place...until I picked up my CrackBerry, turned to and read that Davy Jones had died...

SLEW Maiden Win.jpgHappy Birthday, Seattle Slew!  The mighty warrior horse was foaled on 15 February 1974 at Ben Castleman's White Horse Acres Farm near Lexington, Kentucky--and on his strong back he took millions of people for the ride of our lives.  This piece tonight will not be a recitation of stats, for birthday celebrations are about heart, guts, glory and love.  Numbers--even extraordinary numbers, such as Slew's achievements--have no place at a birthday party...
HBO has introduced a new series, "Luck," -- I'm sure that every racing fan on Earth--well, OK, at least in the U.S.--is aware of this, and watched the show.   We tuned in if for no other reason than the fact that horse racing, which was America's Sport in the 1930s (see previous review, "Saratoga")--is not often the subject of an episode of a series, never mind the setting.  

[We' who love the horses and the sport passionately--obsessively--are forced to admit that our beloved industry has lost ground (at least, popularity) to football, basketball, baseball, soccer--even to hot dog-eating contests.  (You think I jest!  Several years ago, ESPN was slated to show the Santa Anita Derby.  I was parked in front of the TV, popcorn and Racing Form in-hand.  I was ready.  But instead of showing the prestigious race, gorgeous track and beautiful horses--ESPN chose to pre-empt the Derby with a hot-dog eating contest.  I was not aware that gluttony is a sport, until that afternoon.)]

For those of you who've not seen the first episode of "Luck,"; who don't get HBO or who live outside the U.S. and couldn't see it--in a nutshell, "Luck" takes place at Santa Anita Park, one of America's most beautiful race courses.  The series boasts some gifted actors, including:  Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Dennis Farina--and, thank God, Gary Stevens.  (I loved him as a jock, I love him as an actor.  The guy can do no wrong, IMHO.)  Oh, yes, and Jill Hennessy plays a veterinarian whose 'tude leaves much to be desired...

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M.E. Altieri

Marion Altieri is a horse racing
life-long fan
radio show- and TV-show hostinista and
Her website, will bring together URLs for this blog with her radio, TV and online magazine publishing endeavors. The 'site also will feature a Marketplace, Community and opps to exchange ideas about women in racing; equine welfare and rights and ways to make the sport both more nurturing for horses and more egalitarian for females.

First a wordsmith, Marion is acutely aware of the power of language: as we speak and write, so we live. If language has the power to start and end wars, so too it has the power to save the lives of horses

A f!lly is not a little grrrl horse: a f!lly is a Force of Nature, and through her work, Marion hopes to help reinforce this powerful Truth.


Thoroughbred Racing in Saratoga

The Thoroughbred is a distinct, created breed of horse. Saratoga Springs, New York is a unique, pristine city in Upstate New York.

Put the two together, Thoroughbreds and Saratoga, and you have America's most prestigious, lushly beautiful and important racing meet. For six weeks every summer, the world's best horses, jockeys and trainers come together to compete for trophies, cash and fame.

In this blog, we'll discover All Things Thoroughbred and the lovely international community of horsepeople, both professionals and fans, alike who set up camp in this city. Some come for six weeks, only. Others are here from April through November every year, when the Oklahoma's open. Yet others trek to town to race their mighty steeds—then fall in love with the place; buy a home and move here.

The Saratoga racing family of humans and horses is a year-round endeavour. You think that all the horses all go elsewhere after Labor Day? Then this blog is for you, too.

(Is the reference, "the Oklahoma" lost on you? Stay tuned, you'll feel like a pro in no time.)

Welcome to the only experience on Earth that can boast of such otherworldly beauty and heart-stopping thrills, all in the same breath: Thoroughbred racing in Saratoga.